Michael Jackson vs. The Beatles: Musical Wizards Compared

  • By reComparison Contributor
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Difference between Michael Jackson and The Beatles

When it comes to record sales, astronomical numbers of fans and loads and loads of hit songs, The Beatles and Michael Jackson share a lot in common. They both have changed the world with their music and made tons of money along the way.  But they do differ in some ways. One being the genre of music they made, and another in the decades in which they made their music. The Beatles were a rock band most popular in the 60’s and 70’s, while Michael Jackson was a pop superstar mostly in the 70’s and 80’s.

Record Sales

Both The Beatles and Michael Jackson sold millions of records. The Beatles have sold a total of 1.3 billion records worldwide to date. Michael Jackson’s record sales worldwide to date are a little lower, estimated to be at 750 million units. The two acts are considered two of the top-selling artists of all time. In fact, The Beatles are considered the top selling, while Michael Jackson is considered third, just behind Elvis Presley for second. Michael Jackson does have one record all for himself; his album Thriller is the top selling of all time, with sales totaling over 100 million worldwide.


The Beatles was a rock band made up of 4 musicians: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr and George Harrison. The band kept the same members from 1962 until breaking up in 1970. Michael Jackson, early in his career, was part of the Jackson 5, a pop group composed of his brothers and himself. When he was an adult, Michael become a solo act and would perform as such for the remainder of his career. Most of Michael’s fans remember him as a solo artist, while The Beatles are known as an iconic rock band. This is a key difference between the two.

Where They Are Now

Of the four original Beatles, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney are still alive. John Lennon was murdered outside his apartment in New York City in 1980. George Harrison died of a metastatic non-small cell lung cancer in 2001.  Michael Jackson died of an apparent drug overdose administered by his doctor in 2009; the doctor is currently on trial for manslaughter of the pop star. The world grieved greatly for the two Beatles and Michael Jackson after their deaths, especially for Lennon and Jackson, given their deaths were controversial in nature.

Similarities and Differences

The Beatles and Michael Jackson are both iconic music acts and will forever be remembered around the world. While they made music of different genres, Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney did make a couple of songs together, including “The Girl is Mine”, released on Jackson’s Thriller album.

Michael Jackson

  • Was star of the pop group Jackson 5 as a child
  • Sold millions of records over is career, including the top-selling album of all time Thriller
  • Often viewed as eccentric for his quirky demeanor
  • Was accused of child molestation, but was never convicted
  • Died in 2009 amid controversy around the circumstances and the involvement of his doctor in his death
  • In 1984, he outbid Yoko Ono and Paul McCartney for the rights to The Beatles music for a sum of $47.5M dollars. 

The Beatles

  • Were hugely all around the World in the 60’s and 70’s and still remain popular today
  • Composed of four members, with two of those alive today and still making and performing music
  • Front man for the band, John Lennon was murdered in 1980 by a crazed fan
  • The Beatles are widely considered to be the best band of all time
  • The Beatles music is featured in the Cirque Du Soleil show titled "The Beatles: Love" at the Mirage hotel in Las Vegas. 
Who has the best voice?
  • Michael Jackson
  • The Beatles

Discuss It: comments 15

  • Guest
  • Hugh Grant wrote on February 2011

Beatles by far the best band in the world. All the singers in the Beatles have unique and manly voice...

beatles are full of s**t man michael jackson would beat em

Michael Jackson has my heart but i love Jhon leennon too. Peace and love.

Beatles way better than MJ boo Mj sucks

por Michael Jackson

  • Guest
  • vincent osawe wrote on March 2011

beatle suck they never broke any of mj's records.Michael Jackson is the king.


  • Guest
  • mustaaaay wrote on March 2013

exactly jerome bro

mj is the king of music forever

totally agree hitman

beatles sucks mj the emperor of music

Musically and culturally, the Beatles did more to shape the world than any artist before or since. In an 8 year period they made 12 quality albums. Prolific by any standards. Only Prince, to my mind, matches that statistic. Jackson made 2 quality albums: Off the Wall and Thriller. The rest were anywhere between good and awful. I'd rank him way below the Beatles, Queen, U2, David Bowie, Elvis, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Prince, Pink Floyd, Bob Marley and Sting (that's just off the top of my head).

  • Guest
  • Amol pandhare wrote on April 2012

I think mj is best bcos, He not only sing in one genere but pop, r&b, rock, funck, disco, new jack swing, rap(shout), hip hop, soul & some more. His lyrics create wonderful impact. The way he create music. The way he dance while singing. Mj is dance style, no other dance style is named on persons name. He is most awarded solo artist ever. His all solo albums are among largest selling albums of all time. I think history, blood on the dance floor, invincible are less successful because of false claims tabloids. Though beatles is rock band, no member of that band can sing beat it, black or white, dirty diana, give in to me like michael sings. He pushed boundries of pop & r&b music. He was a fighter.

No one can touch him.

He is true king of pop, rock, soul.

  • Guest
  • Boywonder wrote on September 2012

Mj shaped much of what made late 90s/early 00s RnB cool,Because of him we have the Ushers,Justin timberlakes,Ne-yos etc.Sadly though his negative media attention ovcershadows many peoples view of him as a whole.They forget his great and versitle music,and the fact he basically shaped what a music video is.His Influnce was international like the Beatles but the Beatles as a whole are probably more well received to the public.There sales can go **** for tat.All in all I can't say whom I like more,I listen to both there music whenever I'm in the mood for either one.

  • Guest
  • Pradeep singh wrote on July 2021

Only beales have record sales it doesn't mean they are better they have more number of albums than mj and also they were group of four members but mj was alone. Mj not only greater than beatles but also greater than everyone

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